Friday, June 06, 2008

Formal Complaint About the Human Rights Tribunal

After listening to BC's Attorney General (click here and move to 16:55 - and I'm on at 36:20) I intuitively knew it was long overdue for me to take the time to carefully compose a letter to him. I present it below.

Dear Mr. Oppal:

I've carefully followed everything connected with the BC Human Rights Tribunal (BCHRT) case against Maclean's magazine this past week. Earlier this afternoon I listened to you discussing the BCHRT with Jon McComb on CKNW.

I have long viewed you to be a good-hearted person, although perhaps someone who has not wanted to make too many waves within your ministry. But please know that I've generally been very supportive of you and Premier Campbell's government. But sir, there is absolutely no question in my mind that the BCHRT is completely out of control, run by people whose decisions are strictly based on their extreme social activist agendas. Their actions, not just this past week, but over many years, have brought embarrassment and shame to our province and to all of its citizens who believe in free speech and a judicial system that they can (and want to!) respect. For it is only through the respect and support of its citizens that a judicial system earns its credibility and right to exist. This is a fundamental tenet of any real democracy. If I may, I'd like to share this quote with you:

"Perhaps no characteristic of an organized and cohesive society is more fundamental than its erection and enforcement of a system of rules...enabling [its members] to...settle their differences in an orderly, predictable manner. Without such a 'legal system', social organization and cohesion are virtually impossible...[I]t is this...that allows society to reap the benefits of rejecting what political theorists call the 'state of nature'. "

U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Harlan [Jr.], Boddie v. Connecticut, 401 U.S. 371, 374-75 (1971)

In your discussion with Jon McComb, you implied that the BCHRT is an organization that helps to prevent our society from moving down the same path as Nazi Germany. As someone whose father lived there during that time and whose grandfather fought in Hitler's army, I have made great efforts to educate myself into what went on during that terrible period and to understand the small but constant steps that lead the German people down the slippery slope to tyranny. With all due respect, I strongly believe that you have things exactly backwards when it comes to the BCHRT. No judicial body that righteously defends freedom would ever deem Truth and Facts to be inadmissible as a defense. Yet as everyone paying attention around the world this past week learned, that's precisely what the BCHRT did. In no uncertain terms, their actions are closer to the way things operated in Nazi Germany than any other arm of government in recent Canadian history.

I am not suggesting that the entire BCHRT be disbanded. But, regardless of the eventual verdict against Maclean's, four steps must be taken, hopefully prior to the next provincial election:
  1. Section 7.1 of the BC Human Rights Code, dealing with discriminatory publications, must be removed. Rewording it will never resolve the problem because it's too open to misinterpretation, as has been demonstrated this past week. Once this is done, then Section 7.2 can be removed as well, as it becomes a moot point.

  2. The three BCHRT employees sitting in judgment this past week, namely Heather MacNaughton, Tonie Beharrell, and Kurt Neuenfeldt must either have their employment terminated or otherwise be transferred to a different department within the government. Whether or not they're competent is still to be decided but in the eye of public opinion their credibility is forever shot and no future ruling by any of them will ever deemed to be fair. Under Section 6 of the code you clearly have every right to do this.

  3. Further to Section 6, the employment of all other staff at the BCHRT must be carefully reviewed by you or a designate so as to ascertain that their judgment is fair & balanced and not drawn from a predetermined agenda.

  4. The BCHRT must be repopulated with individuals who have no particular political agenda and who have much more judicial training.
In doing so, you will restore faith in the BCHRT amongst our population, giving the Tribunal a renewed opportunity to fulfill its original mandate. It goes without saying that what has occurred this past week is not a Muslim vs. non-Muslim issue. As someone who has many Muslim friends, I strongly believe that they would be very much in support of you taking the actions I've outlined above. I might also suggest you consult with Tarek Fatah, a brilliant Muslim author, and ask him for his opinions on this matter.

I trust you understand that I have written you with no particular agenda but simply the goal of seeking positive change for the benefit of all British Columbians.

Most sincerely,

Robert Werner
Vancouver, BC

In no uncertain terms, I strongly encourage you to write both Wally Oppal and Canada's Attorney General, Rob Nicholson. Also don't hesitate to share your views with Jon McComb at CKNW. He is as mad as everyone else that such Kangaroo Courts are operating in Canada in 2008. He's willing to devote his future Friday shows to this issue, but only if there is sufficient interest. Please let him know yours, even if you don't live in Metro Vancouver.


Sounder said...

Excellent letter.

Ice Ko said...

Yes, good letter, but Tarek Fateh "brilliant"? Though he is on the side of the good angels in this case, I think you're overegging the pudding more than wee bit on that one....

PelaLusa said...

I've listened to Mr. Fateh very carefully this past week. I stand by my assertion.